Monday, 31 August 2015

Mitchell Meanderings

Summer always seems to be a busy time for me and as a result my blog posts are few and far between.  However I manged to make time to slip out to the West Perth Wetlands and I wanted to post some of the pictures of my afternoon.  The water level in many of the cells has really dropped and as a result, there were plenty of shorebirds available.  Among some of the most common were killdeer.
I also managed to pick out several semipalmated plovers.

Lesser yellowlegs were also very plentiful along with a mix of other shorebirds not unusual for this time of year.

Most of the waterfowl is still in non-breeding eclipse plumage including most of the mallards and blue winged teal.

Blue-winged teal

I managed to pick out three american wigeon starting to show some signs of breeding colour.

Wigeon trio

Lots of monarchs were present, a sign that migration is beginning for them.

The only other butterfly of note was a black swallowtail.  I haven't seen a lot this year so it was great to spot.

Not long after I got home, I recieved a rarity email from eBird stating that wilson's phalarope and clay coloured sparrow had been seen at the lagoons that morning.  I didn't see either one, but it was a great day nonetheless.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Manitoulin Island

 I have just returned from a very enjoyable trip up through Ontario's Bruce Peninsula and onto stunning Manitoulin Island.  It has been a few years since I last visited the island and it was great to be back.  There was plenty of time for hiking, fishing and of course birding.

Crossing on the Chi Cheemaun ferry was a great way to start off the trip.  We took the earliest crossing at 7 am. 

Partway across to the island, an announcement came on that the ship was going to go through a man overboard drill.  It was interesting to watch the small rescue boat lowered down and then head off to make its 'rescue'.

Arriving in South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island, the first plan was to check into the rented cottage on Lake Mindemoya.  Large numbers of sandhill cranes were seen in the fields as we drove.  While watching the cranes, I noticed a small falcon sitting on the power lines.  It was a merlin, my first sighting of one.

The cottage on Lake Mindemoya had an excellent view over the water making it a great place to set up the scope and scan the area.

A normal sight on many northern lakes, these common loons would often swim by in the morning.  Even if I didn't see them, I could often hear them.
Although not photographed, I also had the thrill of watching a swarm of common nighthawks feeding on insects over the lake.  This species is very common on the island during the summer months.

It's always fun when on the island to visit Providence Bay and walk the boardwalk along the water.  Although quite common, ring-billed gulls are relatively tame and easy to photograph.

I also saw this little shorebird scurrying along around the waves.  My shorebird identification skills still have a way to go.  Any thoughts are welcome.

Overall it was a great trip with several new life species.  The island is definitely
worth a visit if you are in the area.